U sought speed, in-state stars

  • Updated: January 31, 2012 - 11:31 PM

Gophers coach Jerry Kill tried to fill specific needs for his team.

U sought speed, in-state stars

Jerry Kill hunted for strength last year. This time, he wanted speed.

Kill expects to add roughly two dozen high school seniors Wednesday, the first day recruits can sign binding national letters of intent, to the five junior-college players he welcomed in December. The Class of 2012 appears thick with defensive backs and wide receivers. Perhaps as many as five of the offensive recruits could end up catching passes for the Gophers, and eight of the defensive players specialize in breaking them up.

It's the first recruiting class Kill can really call his own. Last February's additions, a class that was particularly deep in offensive linemen and linebackers, were largely identified and recruited by former coach Tim Brewster. This group has been shepherded through the process by Kill and his staff, and seems to specifically address Minnesota's lack of speed, and its lack of depth at the skill positions.

It's also deep in one other category: Minnesotans. At least 10 expected signees, counting junior-college transfer Isaac Fruechte, attended the state's high schools, an early indication that Kill is having success keeping the best local players at home. The most publicized recruits in this class are all Minnesotans who were sought by out-of-state universities: quarterback Philip Nelson of Mankato West, offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig of Blue Earth and wideout Andre McDonald of Hopkins.

Kill will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. today to discuss his new recruits, and the Goal Line Club will host a 'Sota Signing Social, including buffet dinner and a presentation by the coach, beginning at 5 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium. Cost is $30.

PHIL MILLER

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